Monday, July 30, 2012

Back After a Long Break

I've been pretty slack on this blog , pretty much ever since I took a long weekend over the 4th of July. I didn't just take a break from the blog. I have played a lot less guitar over the past few weeks than I was playing before. No real reason - just got into a more relaxed mode (and now I've got some work that I'm doing on the side which cuts into my play time). Still playing. Just not killing myself with 2 - 4 hour late-night marathon sessions. I think I may have reached a point where practicing a little less may actually produce more positive results. We'll see.

Arm pain had become an issue for a while, so the break has helped with that. Unfortunately, I'm now experiencing some unusual sharp pain in the third finger on my left hand - the finger that I use to fret power chords. It feels a bit like the first knuckle on that finger has a hairline fracture or something. Will probably get an X-ray if it still hurts in a week. But, my forearm and wrists feel much better lately. I've also done quite a bit of playing while sitting down - with the guitar on my LEFT knee as some guys on the Ubi/RS forum suggested. That makes a huge difference and is surprisingly comfortable. Takes just a few minutes to get used to it.

I've mastered one or two songs this month and made some serious progress on a few solos. Bought the Queen 5-pack plus Black Parade DLC. And, I've played two or three events - none of which got me any double encores. In fact, on one event about a week ago I didn't even get a first encore. Pretty bad. I'll post event results and an updated spreadsheet this week.

The break is definitely not an indication that I'm burned out or losing interest in guitar. I'm still at it probably 3 or 4 nights a week and still planning to play my little Christmas concert (mastering the 3 Christmas DLC songs from December 2011 and playing them in front of a live audience). And, I'm very excited about the upcoming release for BASS! Once that comes out, I may be playing a lot less guitar. Can't say for sure, but I really don't foresee ever becoming the kind of guitarist I'd like to be. Bass, on the other hand, I may actually have some potential to play.

Trying a New Approach to Rocksmith Events

I used to try to get my songs up to 70k before I'd play them in an event. But, I recently realized - as I worked my way through the last few songs in the original RS song list - that the songs will show up in events again and again with increasing qualifying scores. So, when I reached the end of the original song list and songs started showing up on set lists for a second time, my qualifying scores were WAY up there - like 90k. That's practically mastering the song! Had I just played the events without trying so hard, I could probably have played the songs in at least a few events each before I started seeing such high qualifying scores.

I bought some new DLC recently, so that showed up on a set list with more realistic qualifying scores. I decided to take this opportunity to try a less ambitious approach to events. Instead of working on the songs until I had them at least half-way mastered, I just ripped into my most recent event after meeting the minimum qualifying scores. Actually, since I qualified all 5 songs on my first play through, I didn't really do the event until I had played each song a couple of times. I didn't do any riff repeater work or anything. Just refreshed my memory by running through the songs before I actually started the event.

The event went OK, I guess, considering that I barely knew how to play the songs and was probably playing maybe 50% of the song. I got an encore. Unfortunately, it was a MM encore, of course. And, funnily enough, even though it was my first mastered song that I've played a couple hundred times, it took me several measures to remember how it went! So, no double encore.

At least this time I got an encore. Could have been worse. Now I'm anxious to see what comes up next. Will my new DLC songs keep showing up until I get the scores up to the level of my other songs? Or, will they appear randomly, mixed in with other songs that I've worked hard on? We'll see.